Sunday, March 01, 2009

Trace, by Patricia Cornwell

Trace, by Patricia Cornwell

Cornwell is just going through the motions these days. Blow Fly was bad, but Trace was truly awful. Besides a ridiculous plot and characters that are continually unhappy and unpleasant, the writing is repetitive to the point of boredom. In one chapter, an alcoholic neighbor is described as such: “She has left the station and is halfway to drunk.” A mere two paragraphs later, “She stretches her words the way people do when they’ve left the station and are happily on their way to drunk.” On the next page, the same character is “pronouncing her French extremely well for one almost at her destination of drunk.” That is a lot of metaphor for such a short passage. Bah.

Trace is an ironic name for this book, because there isn’t a trace of enjoyment to be found here. Personalities I’d liked in previous novels were angry shells of themselves, and it had a lackluster plot with so many coincidences and holes it should have been a Murder She Wrote episode. I find it hard to believe that the same author that wrote Postmortem wrote this drivel.

First Sentence:
Yellow bulldozers hack earth and stone in an old city block that has seen more death than most modern wars, and Kay Scarpetta slows her rental SUV almost to a stop.

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